Mozambique: Three Beira MDM Leaders Released as Judge Says Police Had No Reason for Arrest

Three MDM leaders were released today in Beira after a judge said there was no legal basis for their arrests Tuesday. According to a report on the independent television station STV, the judge today (Friday 29 September) said he had been surprised to find the case waiting for him when he arrived at the courtroom. Judge Tome Valente, of the first criminal section in the Beira, complained he had known nothing about the arrests previously.

The three men were accused of illegally detaining a member of the Frelimo on Tuesday, after they caught him red-handed collecting voter cards in the Beira neighbourhood of Manga. Voter cards are personal property that cannot be passed on to anybody else. The voter card is the primary means by which voters identify themselves at the polling stations. But instead of arresting the Frelimo member for improperly collecting voters cards, the police detained MDM Sofala provincial political delegate Marcelino Manhasso, Beira city delegate Picardo Sola, and MDM Beira Youth League head Fernando Augusto.

MDM President, Lutero Simango, denounced the detention of the MDM members during a Wednesday press conference in Beira.

Meanwhile in Chiure, Cabo Delgado, five MDM members have been detained for flyposting, 12 minute before the official midnight start of the campaign, Monday night. After midnight during the campaign, putting up campaign posters is allowed.